Two men were sitting in the bar like they tended to do. They drank for free since one of them owned the bar and the other owned the land it was on. In fact, between the two of them they owned nearly everything in town as well as the a majority of the land around it.
They had been there far too long, as usual. When they did what most people do when they’d been at the bar too long and started having rousing debates.
One of them had just watched a trial down at the courthouse. As an important citizen of the town he felt he should be there. But the court and justice system fascinated him since he once considered going to law school but instead went into real estate.
“Did you catch any of that trial earlier today?” the one man asked.
“I heard about it.”
“The whole town seems to be divided. No one knows if he really did it.”
“Well the jury seems to think he did.”
“Yes, but the evidence was so flimsy and he had an alibi.”
“True. I don’t think he got the fairest trial either. The people in this town never liked his old man and they have a long memories round these parts.”
“So you think that the son might be paying for the father’s sins?”
“I do believe that might be what has happened.”
“Well what do you have in mind?”
“I have an idea for a test to show if someone was truly innocent or not.”
“Do you know now?”
“You are quite clever my friend.”
“I know, I’m going to so see the judge and see if he agrees with my little experiment.”
The next day, the two men got the judge’s approval for their little experiment so they went with Mr. Davis the newly guilty man as well as one of the Sheriff’s deputies to the edge of town.
“What’s going on?” Mr. Davis.
“Apparently this is your new cell,” the deputy said.
“Yes,” one of the old men explained, “it’s a new experimental type of holding facility and you’re the first test subject.”
They all looked at a wooded platform sitting in the field.
“Where are the walls?” Mr. Davis asked.
“That’s the thing,” the man explained, “there are none. You’re to just stay here on the platform.”
“Whatever,” Mr. Davis said. He didn’t care. He’d spent the last few weeks in a cell not much bigger than his bed.
“So, you stay here. And we’ll be back tomorrow to check on you.”
“Suits me. At least this has got a view.”
And so they left Mr. Davis there on the platform and returned to town.
The next the deputy asked what was going on.
“It’s simple,” one of the old men said, “He’s in a cell with no walls. An innocent man would have no reason to run. A guilty man would flee the second we stepped away.”
They walked the half mile to through the woods to the platform.
And no one was there.
“Huh,” one of the men said, “I did not see this coming.”
“Well did you consider that we now have a convict on the loose just outside town.”
“We did not consider that,” the two rich men said.
The deputy started barking orders into the radio when they heard a commotion in the words.
Mr. Davis walked out of the woods.
“Where did you go?”
“I just stepped into the woods to use the bathroom. So how’d the experiment go?”